Underride_Big_Rig_AccidentUnderride accidents are a less commonly known hazard on Californian roads, but a serious one nonetheless. Many Californians are blissfully unaware of the dangers that semis and large trucks present for an underride accident to occur. In fact, hundreds of people are killed every year due to underride accidents. Those who have been involved in an underride accident or know someone who has may be entitled to compensation for any losses they experienced. Underride accidents can lead to huge financial strain, either due to medical bills, lost income, or any other monetary issues cause by the accident. In many instances, individuals find themselves in dire financial situations as the result of an underride accident.

California big rig accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates have a thorough understanding of both the legal and medical issues surrounding serious truck accidents. If you or someone you care for is a victim of an underride truck accident, it is paramount that you speak with an attorney who is experienced in helping clients with California truck accident litigation.

With multiple offices located in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, San Diego, and Riverside, our truck accident attorneys represent victims across California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 949-727-9300.

What is an Underride Accident?

When a vehicle crashes beneath a semi-truck’s rear-end it’s known as an underride accident and can result in catastrophic injury. The vehicle can go either entirely or partially underneath the truck’s undercarriage. In many cases, vehicles that are involved in underride accidents are completely flattened or have the entire roof of the vehicle removed. Passenger cars such as sedans are at the most risk of being severely damaged during an underride accident. This is largely due to the relative height of a sedan or similar vehicle to the undercarriage of a semi-truck.

Types of Underride Accidents

Even though an underride accident, in general, refers to a vehicle going underneath the carriage of a semi-truck, there are actually two different types of underride crashes:

  • Rear Underride – When a vehicle bounces off or goes underneath a semi-truck’s rear, it is classified as an underride. These are the most common form of underride accident and are usually caused by a passenger vehicle rear-ending a semi-truck. If the vehicle is traveling at too high a speed or the semi-truck stop suddenly and there is not a sufficient stopping distance, it can result in an underride accident and catastrophic injuries to the driver and passengers.
  • Side Underride – Unseen beneath a truck is a passenger vehicle that strikes its side. In a variety of ways, this can happen, such as when a driver hits a trailer during a wide turn or during a U-turn. It can also happen if a truck driver merges lanes without seeing a smaller vehicle beside him or her, hitting the smaller vehicle, which underrides the trailer.

Causes of Underride Accidents

There may be many things that can cause an underride accident. Typically speaking the most common causes of these accidents include:

  • Poor visibility may cause drivers to slam into tractor-trailers without realizing it. This is particularly true in foggy or extremely rainy conditions. If there are issues with a truck’s rear or brake lights, the risk is increased. Poor weather, lack of reflectors or lights, contrasting colors, winding roads, and bad weather may cause tractor-trailers to become less visible.
  • To try to help prevent collisions between smaller vehicles and big rigs, underride guards are required on trucks. However, if a truck lacks these guards, or if the guards fail, there is an increased chance of an underride accident occurring. Additionally, some research has indicated that guards mandated by the United States federal government may not be strong enough to withstand moderate impacts, thus rendering them somewhat ineffective.
  • Poor maintenance of truck brakes is another common cause of underride accidents. Drivers need to be able to clearly see when a semi-truck is braking in front of them. If brake lights are broken or dim, they may not sufficiently illuminate, causing passenger vehicles to be unable to accurately judge stopping distance.
  • Driver error also causes a large number of underride accidents to occur, whether it be the error of the truck driver or other drivers involved. If a driver isn’t paying attention to the road or driving conditions it can increase the chances that there will be a collision. Driver error is also exasperated as trucks are so large and heavy that any small mistake could have dire consequences.
  • Drugs and alcohol are, unfortunately, prominent in the trucking world and thus lead to drivers sometimes operating semis while under the influence. This increases the chances of driver error and can lead to underride accidents.

The Dangers of Being Involved in an Underride Accident

Underride accidents are a particularly dangerous type of accident simply due to their nature. The potential for loss of life, severe injury, or disability is strikingly high. In many cases, victims are entitled to compensation that they never see, despite an accident taking such a huge toll on their life and wellbeing. Some examples of instances that might occur due to an underride accident include:

– Lost Wages – Following an underride accident, many victims are unable to work, typically due to the severity of their injuries. Thus, loss of wages can have a significant impact on a victim’s life.
– Medical Bills – Of course, it goes without saying that the medical bills associated with many underride accidents can be exorbitant. Often, injuries are severe and require significant, complex treatments and, often, rehabilitation. Medical bills for initial and ongoing treatment can easily reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
– Non-financial Loss – While lost wages or high medical bills tend to be the number one reason victims aim to seek compensation for an underride accident, there are also non-financial losses to consider. While the loss of a loved one cannot be assigned a dollar amount, compensation may be awarded to those who have lost a loved one in an underride accident.
– Emotional trauma – The incredible impact of an underride accident can lead to emotional distress including depression and anxiety. In such instances, compensation for emotional distress may be awarded to the victim.

What To Do If You Have Been Involved in an Underride Accident

If you have survived an underride accident, you may be very distressed and traumatized. After dealing with any medical issues and injuries, your next step may be to consider hiring an experienced California underride accident attorney.

Many victims are unable to cover the costs associated with their accident, and thus need to seek compensation. But going up against a trucking company will require an expert truck accident attorney, mainly because trucking companies have the resources to represent themselves extremely well. Before meeting with an attorney, you may wish to collect together any medical records and reports from your accident. This will help your attorney make the most knowledgeable recommendations regarding your specific case.

Contact an Experienced California Underride Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one is a victim of a truck accident in California, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney as you may be entitled to compensation. The California truck accident injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can then help determine if you have a personal injury claim.

With multiple offices located in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, San Diego, and Riverside, our truck accident lawyers represent victims across California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys, please call 949-727-9300.